In the US market, the best selling car is the Ford F-Series pick-up and the second best selling one is also a pick-up. While America's love affair with the pick-up truck has been on for decades, this species of the motor car has been quite alien to India.
Pick-up trucks have been previously sold in the Indian market, but in numbers you could count on the fingers of your hand (we’re talking about personal vehicles, not commercial ones). A few car-makers dabbled in this genre of cars, but failed until Isuzu turned up with their D-max and single-handedly introduced India to the pick-up.
Over the years, the D-Max V-Cross has sold pretty well and has taken off with roughly 500 units a month in sales and all of them aimed as a 'lifestyle pick-up'.
Is it any good and should you buy one in India? Read on to find out.
‘Looks massive' is an understatement
First impressions are that the V-Cross is longer than a super luxury limo and you might as well forget the Fortuner as it easily towers over it and over pretty much everything else.
It is massive and the new look with the LED DRLs along with the chrome give it a menacing stance. Everywhere you go people stare and presence it has in bucket-loads.
The side reveals the sheer length and of course the pick-up bed is open, though many owners get it customised and cover it. Suffice to say the 18-inch wheels and monstrous tyres hardly cover the wheel-arches!
Decent interiors for the price!
Inside, the earlier models were bare-bones, but now Isuzu has spruced it up quite a bit. The top-end as seen here has black leather while things like the instrument cluster or the round climate control knob looks cool.
The design is still basic and does not exude the vibe of a near-20 lakh car. In some places material quality is still iffy.
One also misses out on Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, but there is a powered drivers seat, touchscreen, six airbags, hill-start assist, hill-descent control, reverse camera and more. The equipment levels do not match a car of this price, but Isuzu has improved it somewhat.
Getting in and out requires you to be athletic but once in, it is huge and there are multiple charging points along with storage places.
Is it cumbersome to use in the city?
The size is intimidating but once you start to drive, the V-Cross is surprisingly manoeuvrable. That is due to the automatic gearbox, new engine and a rear camera.
Believe it or not, the V-Cross was not offered with a rear camera and with a car so big that you can knock off a few hatchbacks when reversing; a rear camera was something it badly needed. Now, parking is a lot easier and in the city once you get used to the size, driving it is fairly painless.
For getting around town the new 1.9l diesel is fairly smooth and the automatic is quite responsive. What also helps is that other cars simply make way when they see this behemoth in their rear view mirror.
Immediate overtaking or performance is where this big brute falls flat. The gearbox is slow and overtakes needs to be planned. Best take it easy. That said the V-Cross is quite stable and easy to use on the highway as well!
Other things to note would be the heavy steering and the bouncy ride if the pick-up bed is empty.
Off-road, the big V-Max is simply indestructible and it should be given its proper truck origins. It is a proper off-roader and goes over everything with only the huge size coming in as a handicap when off-roading.
Should you buy one?
Hardcore off-road enthusiasts would want the manual and that has the old engine but this top-end automatic is aimed at SUV buyers who want it as a lifestyle choice. In that sense the Rs 20 lakh price of the V-Cross is a bargain since it is half the price of a Fortuner but much bigger and much more presence, with as many features, if not more.
It is a lot more rounded proposition now and is an intriguing alternative to an SUV. At this price, nothing matches the V-Cross. So, yes, a pick-up works in India and you can buy one, if you are looking for something out of the ordinary. Just make sure you have a lot of parking space, that's all!